Loaned by Bournemouth to Toulouse in France until the end of the season, Max-Alain Gradel is slowly getting back into the swing of things.
With two goals and an assist in five appearances, the winger has also had to spend time on the sidelines due to a leg injury, watching Toulouse win once, draw twice and lose two games from the stands.
Only losing one match (a 6-2 loss to Paris Saint-Germain) with him in the squad, Toulouse are reaping the benefits of a player trying to show the world he isn’t done yet.
In an interview with Le Progrès, relayed by Foot01.com, the player revealed he could have signed for one of his former sides, but worries about his fitness scuppered any potential deal.
He said: “I could’ve returned to Saint-Etienne this season, but someone in Oscar Garcia’s scouting department told me I was done, and it never happened”.
Needing to leave the Cherries after Eddie Howe all but ignored him after his return from injury, Gradel wants to ensure he’s on the plane to Russia if Ivory Coast qualify for the World Cup.
He continued: “I know Ligue 1 well, and the decision to return wasn’t a tough one. However, there aren’t any problems with Bournemouth. My personal desire is to play regularly this season with the World Cup qualifiers.
“My decision is only based on sporting criteria.”
Considering how vocal he was about leaving Bournemouth, the fact he doesn’t have any issues with the club could make things much easier next summer when the Cherries will probably try to offload him permanently.
The 29-year-old currently has a deal tying him to Vitality Stadium until 2020.